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Which nation is upholding the correct Artic boundary lines?

  • Canada

    Votes: 35 81.4%
  • United States

    Votes: 8 18.6%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Arctic boundary dispute may heat up

Bob Weber, Canadian Press
Published: Sunday, May 20, 2007

Canada's unresolved Arctic boundary disputes with the United States could be heating up with a new American push to join the international treaty on the Law of the Sea, say experts on both sides of the border.

Drawn by resource wealth and climate change concerns, the Bush administration is asking the U.S. Senate to approve the treaty and give the U.S. legal tools to press its claims to an energy-rich wedge of the Beaufort Sea that Canada considers its own.

"That tells me we're probably going to be winding up in a dispute," said Rob Huebert of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

"Once they've ratified, they can get serious about determination of their continental shelf."

The Law of the Sea treaty came into effect in 1994 and has now been ratified by 152 countries as well as the European Union. The U.S. has voluntarily complied with its provisions but has never signed it.

But last week, President George W. Bush issued a release supporting the treaty and urging the Senate to approve it.

"(The treaty) will secure U.S. sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, including the valuable natural resources they contain," Bush said.

One of the areas Bush likely has in mind is the water along the border between Alaska and the Yukon.

Canada has long insisted the international border continues through the ocean in a straight line from the land. The U.S. argues instead that the border angles 30 degrees to the east.

The area is considered to have high oil and gas potential. Alaska has put exploration rights to the block up for sale several times, but no company has bid on it while its nationality remains disputed.

The Law of the Sea treaty allows signatories to establish jurisdiction over offshore resources based on how far their continental shelf extends under the sea. Signing on to the treaty would set the rules for negotiating the location of the border, said Huebert.

"It's all about getting in line for when the inevitable division of the Arctic comes into play. The Americans know we're serious about the determination of our continental shelf."

Arctic waters are behind the administration's push to ratify the treaty, said U.S. Rear Admiral (Ret.) Richard West, now president of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education.

"Most of our interest is in and around Alaska," said West.

General concern for the Arctic in light of the effects of climate change is also behind the new interest in the treaty, West said.

"It's absolutely essential we accede to it so we can sit down and negotiate with our partner Canada. You can't participate in the negotiations until you become part of the treaty."

A 2004 document prepared for the state of Alaska suggests economic interests are also important.

"Ratification of the treaty could, therefore, allow the United States to make a claim to an area of submarine terrain covering nearly half again the size of the state of Alaska," said the Sea Change report. "This continental ridge is known to be rich in oil, natural gas and methane hydrates."

Canada, the U.S., and other Arctic countries such as Denmark and Russia are all busily engaged in mapping the outer edges of their continental shelves in preparation for making their offshore claims.

"One of the real beauties of (the treaty) is that it sets out scientific rules and principles on how to set the boundaries out," said Richard MacDougall, a hydrographer with the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Still, tough talks likely lie ahead for the Yukon and Alaska.

"In most cases, those lateral boundaries become negotiations," said MacDougall.

Although attempts to ratify the Law of the Sea date back to the Reagan administration, West says the treaty has enough influential backing in the Senate to likely make it to a vote.

"I think it's the best chance we've ever had," he said. "I think there's a good chance it will pass this Congress."


© Canadian Press 2007
 

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This is almost identical to the Croatia/Slovenia dispute over Piran Bay, and it asks the same question relating to both: do maritime boundaries in such situations continue along a straight line that is ajusted to that same boundary that is on land?

Seems logical that the maritime boundary would follow the land one. This is why I think the position in Slovenia/Croatia is absolutley ridiculous, as Slovenia only wants access to international waters.

This scenario is much more dangerous, as USA has no claim to these waters, and this is a clear violation of Canada's sovereignty...
 

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Power mad Bush has to have something to rant and rave about. If oil was discovered on the moon the US would try to claim it somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Power mad Bush has to have something to rant and rave about. If oil was discovered on the moon the US would try to claim it somehow.
"we own the moon since we planted our flag there forty years ago"
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No one's voted for the US so far, so I took it upon myself to cast the lone American vote. :)
You shall be banned. Oh wait, you're a moderator. This means war.
 

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No one's voted for the US so far, so I took it upon myself to cast the lone American vote. :)
Well, since the poll is in the Canada forum, mostly patronized by Canadians, that can't be remotely surprising.

Post the thread and poll in the United States forum too and see what happens ;)
 

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Seems logical that the maritime boundary would follow the land one. This is why I think the position in Slovenia/Croatia is absolutley ridiculous, as Slovenia only wants access to international waters.
Why?

If the border between two countries on the land is only "straight" for a kilometer inland or so before changing direction (which in Europe is almost always the case), why should that last kilometer indicate a maritime border?
 

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Slovenia wants to access international water without going through Croatian water. Canada has claimed (for about a century) an area in the ocean about the size of Italy that the US has recently been trying to claim by redrawing maps. There have been several occasions where American made maps have drawn their border where they claim it is, even though the border that Canada claims is the one that is most recognized.
 

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Canadian eh!
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Which still doesn't seem to stop the Americans. We all know this is headed for some International court which will drag things out for years and will eventually involve Canada caving in to US demands.

Just once I wish the Canadian government would grow some balls and tell the US to **** off.
 

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well we all know the american way of doing things i suppose its time for another invasion....well atleast this time they wont have to travel 12000km to ther other side of the world to do it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
only more of a reason why we need a real military.
 
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